After the a wait of almost 45 days, liquor stores are reopening in the capital, the wait for a drink though, might be longer
Although liquor stores are reopening in the capital, Delhiites facing difficulties in finding liquor, as most of the shops are still closed, might have to wait a little more. From November 17, with Delhi governments’ exit from the liquor business as around 600 vends run by it — all private players were to take over. These new private shops having walk-in facilities were to be in operation starting Wednesday, under the new excise policy.
However, it seems that it will take some time. Vinod Giri, director general of Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) told Patriot, “We have raised it to the Delhi government that handing over will take some time. Every outlet needs to be physically inspected, only then these shops can open. Licencing and all will take time, probably till November end or till December first week.”
The private liquor shops were shut from 30 September and only government-owned shops were operating in the meantime. Now even when government run shops are closed, alcohol- lovers are finding it difficult to buy their drinks.
Santosh Nigam, 31- year old accountant in a private firm, who came to buy alcohol at Nehru Place was disappointed after finding that no shop was open there. “I was hoping that today, I will find some booze. Government run shops had limited stock. They don’t sell all brands. I thought today will be the day I will party. My day is gone in vain.” he adds with a sigh of disappointment.
“In Nehru Place, I couldn’t find any shop. Not everyone can afford to drink in bars but today, I will drink in a bar. I don’t want to go to Mayur Vihar and hunt for liquor again” he says with a chuckle.
The Delhi Government has brought in this new excise policy to boost the city’s revenue, and to crackdown on liquor mafia. So there will be no state operated liquor vends. A total of 849 exclusively privately owned entities, including five super premium retail vends.
Earlier Patriot had reported that, “These super premium vends, according to the notification, will be allowed in a space with a carpet area of not less than 2,500 Sq. Ft. It will be allowed to sell products only above Rs. 200 for Beer and above Rs. 1,000 Retail price for all other spirits including but not limited to Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, Brandy etc.”
“What they can also sell, to rake up more profit, is dedicate up to 10% of their space to sell ancillary products such as Cigars, liquor chocolates etc, even high-end art paintings, then what they call high value merchandise such as bottle openers, ice boxes, bar glasses etc.”
The new Excise policy may impact the prices of liquor. Although VAT has been reduced, instead of prices going down, prices may go up. As per a PTI report, The Excise Department will fix the maximum retail price (MRP) of brands to be registered in Delhi, and the wholesale price of all types of liquor are likely to increase by 8-9 per cent.
The reason for this, Giri explains, is the base price for bidding, “Government has factored excise duty, nominal licencing fee and VAT into one base price for bidding. At many locations, licence holders had to bid more than base price.” So licence holders will try to recover that by hiking the price.
It means Delhiites will be buying expensive liquor in Delhi. “There are provisions that shops can give discounts, but the price will likely result in a 7 to 10% increase in liquor price.”
(Cover: Getty images)